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Your Business

News/Business. A focus on issues facing small business in the United States.

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Justin 10, Ben Affleck 3, Los Angeles 3, Us 3, Infographic 2, J.j. Ramberg 2, Demi Moore 2, Hollywood 2, Clutches 1, Solas 1, J.j. 1, Msnbc 1, Burbank 1, Martini 1, Fergie 1, An American Express 1, Cc Sabathia 1, Tr 1, Sgle 1, Facebook 1,
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  MSNBC    Your Business    News/Business. A focus on issues  
   facing small business in the United States.  

    February 24, 2013
    7:30 - 7:59am EST  

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[ clears throat ] ♪ everybody wang chung tonight ♪ putting it on vibrate. [ cell phone vibrates ] -[ loud vibring ] -ill pass. [ vibrating continues ] our giant store and your little phone. that's progressive mobile. ben affleck may not get an oscar but his fizz tank does. how does this very interesting entrepreneur get his employees to trust him as much as he trusts them. that plus walking the red carpet coming up next on "your business."
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hi, there, everyone. i'm j.j. ramberg and welcome to "your business," the show dedicated to gives you tips and advice to help your business grow. as ben affleck walks the red carpet at the academy awards, will he be thinking, my fish are okay? his original designs on all things aquatic means his services are always in high demand, but in order to grow his business, he's needed to master the art of delegating and getting his clients to trust his employees ads mump as they trust him. ♪ i've got a fish in my dish
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>> i can put any kind of fish tank in my house but i wanted it to be a piece of art. >> he's been designing one-of-a-kind custom aquariums for the rich and famous since 1998. >> i've done cc sabathia. he loves his aquarium. i've men with jennifer garner and ben affleck, the young harry morton. i've done a lot of huj funders and billionaires as well. >> it's justin's original designs that keeps city aquariums in high demand. >> every single one of my projects is unique, whether the fish are different, the change of the tank or shape of the aquarium. whatever it is, i don't like any of my work to be duplicated. >> but creating the work comes at a price. each job requires his personal touch so justin can only take on a number of limited clients. >> most of my clients need a lot of attention. we're not a large company.
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we're a boutique company. i take on a number of clients i'm able to deal with at the moment. >> reporter: with a hefty price taig and clientele, the expectations are high. >> whether you're dealing with somebody who's building you an aquarium, there's a level of trust that has to be there, that you're going to get service and get what you pay for. >> that could mean when nemo feels sick, justin's the one on the end of the late-night 911 call. >> fish get sick at any time of the day. it could be 4:00 in the morning, 7:00 a.m., it could be on the weekends. i have to make myself available. i respond to e-mails within 30 seconds. >> like any small business owner justin started out as a jack of all trades. >> in 2001, it was just me. i was the founder of my company, designer, did my own drawings, and i serviced all my own aquariums. after a while it became too much. >> he soon realized in order to
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grow his business he needed to hire help and delegate some of his work. so his qualifiers were someone who could help maintain the aquariums. >> hayed to let my service company take on the service and not having a client call me for every sick fish, every piece of algae that was in the tank. >> but finding qualified workers who could keep us his brand wasn't easy. >> i've gone ten years learning how to interview people and learning how to find what works or doesn't work for a service individual. >> and even if justin isn't doing the servicing himself, he still needs to make sure the work done is at the level his clients have come to expect from city aquarium. >> it's always been a struggle for me to let somebody else clean my clients' fis tanks just because i can always do it better. so i always request e-mails and photos of before and after each cleaning. i'm still very much hands-on
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even though i'm not there servicing the aquariums myself. >> justin also hired a general manager to stay on top of everything inside of the business. >> i handle the financial side of the business including invoices and regular maintenance and imagining the guys in the field, justin can really focus designing new tanks, coming up with quotes for new clients. >> it also meant clients had to get used to the idea that not all questions required justin's personal attention. >> i've tried very hard to have my clients understand that calling me is not always the best thing when you have a sick fish or if you have a leak or you have an issue. you have to call the service person or you have to call our 1-800 hotline person. >> but there are still certain calls justin has to handle himself. >> it's like being a vet. i am a biologist. my guys are very good but there are some questions i have to
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step in for. >> besides that, delegates has also freed up justin's time to review special side projects. >> we do sets for moves. we debt "men in black 3," which was fun. when it comes to movie sets, those are generally my projects. aisle spearhead them. that's all me. that's very, very important. you can't have martin scorsese dealing with dead fish and issues of the aquarium. it's a lot of money that they put into these aquarium, so nothing can really go wrong. >> at the core, justin knows that the connection with his clients is one that he's not willing to sacrifice for the sake of growth. >> and i think that every aquarium is a relationship, it's a lifelong relationship, so it's very important that i establish really close roielationships wi my client. ♪ too many fish in the sea too many fish in the sea ♪
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>> the goal here is to hire enough people and have faith in your clients. kimberly weisel is ed tr at lank for "ink." developing a fresh oh approach to so-called women's content. great to see both of you guys. this piece was a big picture. he had a hart time doing it himself, he got new people and it worked out fine. hiring people to replace you when clients are so used to working with you is hard, right? how do you make that transition? >> i think part of it in his case coming from setting expectations, right? he's meeting these people who have a lot of money, sometimes they're famous. he meets them at the beginning and i feel he set this expectation that he's going to be there for them. if grow to his website under staff, it only has him and one other person.
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he should have everybody and list them alphabetically. >> i imagine a lot of his business comes from referral and a lot comes from people who say he gives such stellar customer service and he's an amazing guy and i like talking to him and he healed my fish. and so, you know, does he -- does he bring someone along with him and introduce them? what kind of process can he go through? >> he first of all has to figure out if he really wants too delegate. it's not clear from conversation that that's something he wants to do. there's this spectrum of kind of being very loose with your team and letting them run or being a micro manager. and, you know, without knowing him, one would assume, based upon that piece, that he micro manages. i think it speaks to whether he wants to scale the business or
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not, and if he wants to i'll ask, he has to figure out how to hire great people. >> that's one of the issues of hiring. if you're hiring someone to service a fish tank, you're sending them out on their own. how do you know they're good? >> he has people sending e-mails showing that the tank is clean. but there should be someone other than him reviewing those. it seems like that's something that can be pushed down the chain a little bit. yes, he should go with them the first few times, but in the end he maybe needs to look at his hiring and sort of bring it up a step. >> think of some sort of training renl men that allows -- you know, there's consistence out of expectations as dkimberl said before and have it set. but to have a manager would also be the head of service for this kind of a business. >> this was a good piece. nice conversation. thanks, you guys. some small business owners will be watching the festivities on the oscar red carpet to see if a nominee is carrying or
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wearing their product. if you're in the business of selling high-fashion items like handbags, nothing quite beats having a celebrity photographied with your creation. there are ways you can catch a rising star. welcome to hollywood, baby. >> let's not even talk about it. >> let's go. >> jessica bail, fergie, cameron diaz, britney spears, mimi driver. >> this is just a partial list of celebrities holding a solis bag made by small business owner karen kurtz. when it comes to publishing a an item, a picture of a celebrity carrying your clutch in a magazine is far more effective than paid advertising.
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you're talking 350 bags. what's more impressive is the press she used. >> my budget when i started was zero. no money. there was no budget. it was me, which i didn't pay myself. so there was no money. >> well, that's not exactly true. at first kara spent thousands making a costly mistake which taught her she was better off not spending any money. >> it was a $3,000 lesson. i don't know that i want to have many more lessons that cost me $3,000. >> the miss take kara made was hiring a big-time p.r. firm which promised to use its clout to contact celebrities like demi moore and give them sample bags each with a hand writen note from kara. >> i would write a note, dear demi moore, this is why you should wear this bag. and we waited and waited and
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waited. weeks went by. about a month went by. no pictures, no buzz, nothing. >> after the agency dropped the ball on reaching these slebs. she decided to focus on the slebs' assistants, the ones who manage the slebs. >> i gave them a bag and said if your client, your boss likes this bag and wants to wear it, she keeps keeps. >> the first success came with no warning. >> i opened the magazine and there's cameron diaz holding my bag. huge picture. it light up in the dark. they're the hot new handbag for hollywood. >> and that was just the start of it. >> she cold-called me one day and said i have this fabulous purpose and i really, really want it on the show. and i said, what is your purse? >> that's hollywood wardrobe stylist claire hammonds. kara kept on calling until
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claire took the call. >> the girls needed a cute little cocktail purpose and at the time she was doing mostly cocktail purposes, clutches, and it worked. >> kara said the cornerstone of her fantasy can be found in the drugstore magazines. >> i look for celebrity style and stores because if you really pay attention in these magazines, there's always some little tidbit about some little story that will be in the middle of new orleans. >> even a scrap of information like that is plenty to get kara to look. >> i call them up and say, hey, why don't you take a look at solas. >> she's had revenues of more than a million dollars, thanks largely to her resourceful attitude. perhaps more than the money, it could be the sizzle of hollywood glamor that gets her going each day. >> there's nothing as amazing as seeing your product on that person when you open up the
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magazine because you're like, wow, they chose to wear my bag. ♪ hollywood hollywood swinger ♪ >> when we come back, some quick travel tips for those traveling to los angeles on business. and we'll answer your small business questions including one about finding and hiring talented employees. plus, we'll tell you why infographics are an important marketing tool for your company and how you can make them yourself. ♪ i want to scream and shout and let it all out ♪ we've all had those moments. when you lost the thing you can't believe you lost. when what you just bought, just broke. or when you have a little trouble a long way from home... as an american express cardmember you can expect some help. but what you might not expect,
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is you can get all this with a prepaid card. spends like cash. feels like membership. traveling to los angeles on business? here's the "your business" travel tichlkt l.a.x. is a world-class airport hub. it can also be a world-class pain getting into or out of because of all the traffic. want to save hours of travel time? look for regional airport. if your meetings are in burbank or los angeles or santa ana, you might be able to fly directly and skip the chaos of lmt a.x. completely. if you're doiz business out of your hotel room and need to print something out, consider e-mailing it to the front desk and ask them to print it for you. just be sure to call ahead to ask for permission. are you looking for a fresh
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approach to explain a complicated topic in a fun and easy way? well, then maybe you need to think about infographics. in the age of big data and short attention span, infographics can make facts fast, short, interesting for the reader. michael thomas is the ideas guy at noble studios. great to see you, michael. >> great to be here, j.j. >> for people who don't what an info graphic is, a quick explainer. >> we have one that uses a common everyday product. legos. you have kids. i have kids. you explain topics. even if you don't know what one's called they're so popular and you've seen it. >> let me see the one that you have right there. >> so here's an example of one we did, a topic close to your heart. we took five tips from your book and it was about hiring and retaining employees. this was a very lightweight way
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to kind of go through. even if you only gougo through the tips you might leave and go, i learned something and now hopefully somebody's going to be wanting to pick up the entire book. >> so basically you're taking a complicated big picture thing and here are basically the bullet points and then using pictures to tell the story as well. >> here's the reason why. you said it up front. time span. have you ever looked at the youtube video and looked at the bar about how long the video is and you make a choice of whether you're going to consume that video or content, the same thing today. people don't have a lot of time to scan that information. what you really want to do is get a person intrigued. they spend a few minutes looking through an infographic and then they say, well, i didn'tize i was so submerged in that. >> show me the james bond one. >> everybody is like who's the most popular james bond of all time. this is a fun example. this is adjusted for inflation, who grossed the most. you look at the price of a
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martini as it's changed over time. i found myself going. i was suddenly five minutes into it and i didn'tize i was going to look at it. >> you can have that same information in bullet points and nobody would look at it, but this catches your eye. you guys are an agency. you can do these beautiful info graphics and someone has to pay you presumably a lot of money. >> yes, sometimes. >> if somebody doesn't have money, a small business has information they want to get out there but they can't pay a big agency. what can they do? >> we put together -- because it was a great way to tell a story, we put a story together about how to create an infographic. it starts with understanding a topic you want to dond a getting facts and data sources through it because at the ended of the day, we always try to ask ourselves and customers a very simple question, would you read it. you can throw a lot of data at people, but if they don't consume it -- you asked about, you know, picking your topic and
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you need to make sure you have credible facts. you don't want to put something out there that isn't credible. you need to reference it. there's so much information available on the web. then you ask, yes, of course, you can hire a professional firm and there's the quality there. but there's a lot of do-it-yourself tools out there. they literally allow yo to drag and drop templates and all of your creative ideas and you make it come to life. and the last thing we always want to remind businesses is they talk about doing an info graphic or anything, is how do they get their story out. you want to think of ways to obviously be able to put it up on your website or your blog. but be creative how to use it. you could use it at a trade show booth, an exhibit, a client presentation. tell stories about your business. it's really about creating an info graphic. >> that might be the most creative thing too.
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what story are you telling. >> that's exactly it. i'll give you an example. maybe your business is about huge waste. you can create around infographic at the end of the year and say, thanks to you and our efforts, it's all about this. what you want people to do is share it, right? >> and it's so much more meaningful. thank you. because of you, you you we save 10,000 plastic bags. it's so much more meaningful if you see a picture of 10,000 picture bags with an x or something in the info graphic. thank you so much for sharing this. it's such a great way to get the word out and a way that really resonates with people. i appreciate you coming on and joining us. >> thanks for having me, it was great. are you looking to take your business to the international marketplace? well, here now are five tips for doing business globally, courtesy of inc.com. one, study the market. the department of commerce website is a good place to start. the more you're familiar with the country's local
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demographics, the easier it will be to determine your market and figure out how to promote your brand. two, be smart about traveling. you'll be racking up the frequent flier miles so use a rewards program that gives you the flexibility to reinvest your miles toward future trips. three, hire a guide. when visiting a country for the first time, having someone who knows the language and culture to show you the ropes will open up doors for you. four, learn the customs. study up on local styles of dress, sal takes and hospitality. understanding the value system will be key to the success of your business. and number five, check in often. use online video conferencing to keep in constant communication with your overseas staff. it's time now to answer some of your business questions. david and kimberly are with us once again. the first one is about access to capital. >> do you see that capital is opening up?
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are financial institutions starting to lend more? will we be able to get low interest rates for growth for small business? >> what do you think? have you noticed it easier to get a loan now? >> i think it depends very much on how much she's looking for, because what we're seeing is that sort of in the $10 million range, banks are actually quite aggressive in trying to find borrowers who have very high credit quality, so the baseline is you have to have very good credit. but if you're looking for a relatively larger amount, around the $10 million range, yes, absolutely. if you're in the $250 million -- or $250,000 to $3 million range, it's still really, really rough and you're much better off with a small bank than a big one in terms of getting approved. >> what level do you invest in people? sgle at the earliest stages. seed stage and the first big institutional round. >> so you've seen people tried to go to a bank and get a loan and come to you instead. >> there's the attempt.
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particularly if you're trying to raise $300,000 or $400,000. for that modest amount it's still hard for banks to open up when there's no history of any sort of credit. one of the nice things that's happening, the jobs act and crowd funding aspects that should go into place soon might provide the ability for someone in a business who wants to take out a traditional loan to actually get equity capital from nontraditional resources. >> should being the operative word. so we are all sort of waiting when the s.e.c. comes up for these regulations for the jobs act. >> let's move to the next question, this is about recruiting new employees. >> we are growing very fast and ne having difficulty finding the young talented employee. how can i recruit the young talented employee to my small company? >> we did a poll out to a lot of people and asked them what are your biggest problems right now. i was expecting to hear funding,
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cash is an issue. what i heard from so many is finding talented people. and i thought in this job market you're having trouble finding talented people? but i hear it across the board. what's going on? why can't we find people? >> i think part of it is trying to find the people where they are and reach them as opposed to thinking about traditional job boards or things of that sort. so the kind of business that you have i think really demands you to think about marketing your business and seeking those job seekers in different ways. craigslist alone or things like that isn't good enough if you're trying to find people in a specialty or certain age group. >> and maybe you used linkedin. >> also if you're looking for young people but you should be active on college campuses. you should have a really good internship program at your company and you should, like you said, use social media really aggressively and get your employees on board to help you recruit. if you're really looking for young people, college campuses. >> and then have the kind of
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company that young people want to work at. >> absolutely. >> there's so much talk about what millennials are interested in out of a job versus we who are not millennials are interested in. >> this is where i feel small companies can play an advantage because they can give people an opportunity to try their hand at a lot of different things, where as at a large company you're more likely to be locked into a narrower job description. >> let's move on to the next one, a question about the future for an ophthalmology practice that's trying to stay true to its small business roots. >> we're wondering how we can perform most effectively as a small business and maintain our autonomy with all this big business becoming the norm around us. >> i think in health care it's especially rough, because they have all of these requirements that they have to deal with administratively now that they didn't used to have to before. so electronic medical records, pay for performance.
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but i think when we ask fast-growing services companies, no matter what sector they're in, why they have succeeded, they always, always say customer service. you know, they always -- that's the one thing that ties them altogether. i think for any kind of doctor, you know, that's beyond your professional skills and your bedside manner, right? that's how well your office is run, that's how difficult it is to find parking, how good is your signage, what do you do when people refer someone to you. >> you don't have to wait an hour when you get there. >> yeah, absolutely. >> and i think that another aspect is really trying to figure out what the community wants. in this case, the idea of a local business or a series of local businesses with individualized attention, you know, thinking that you're actually going to your doctor as opposed to a corporation i think can matter. and marketing that within the boundaries of the rules the health care act requires is important and i think there's probably a way to do it. >> thanks so much for answering these questions, guys. if any of you have a question for our experts, all you have to
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do is go to our website. the address is openforum.com/yourbusiness. once you get there, hit the ask the show link to submit a question for our panel. again that is openforum.com/yourbusiness or e-mail to your business@msnbc.com. let's check in on some of the latest small business trends. for that we turn to twitter to find out what hot topics entrepreneurs are talking about. one of our favorite marketing experts, jeffrey hayzlett tweeted never compromise on creativity when you know it is the right thing to do for your brand and your customers. another marketing maven of duct tape marketing road essential practices of the new sales professional, marketing dexterity is the key hiring trait. and dave anderson tweets the objective of business isn't to be the best in your category, it's to be your own category with no one else in it.
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remember dictaphones? well, the idea of talking into a recording device so that it can be trianscribed later on has coe into the 21st century. dragon dictation is an easy to use speech-to-text app. you can process lengthy e-mails and other documents in one of 30 different languages. when you're done the app will post your content directly to an e-mail, facebook or twitter. to learn more about today's show just click on our website, openforum.com/yourbusiness. you'll find all of today's segments plus web exclusive content with more information to help your business grow. you can also follow us on twitter @msnbc your biz. next week, a rockaway beach bagel business owned by two new york city firefighters struggles to rebuild post hurricane sandy. >> when i came into the store, i
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just couldn't believe what i saw. everything in here was wrecked. everything was -- had water damage. the appliances and the equipment was thrown around the store, it looked like it was ransacked. it was that whole investment, all that time, all that money, all that energy in an instant was just gone. >> see how we helped them prepare for their grand reopening with a very special "your business" makeover. until then i'm j.j. ramberg, and remember, we make your business our business. we've all had those moments. when you lost the thing you can't believe you lost. when what you just bought, just broke. or when you have a little trouble a long way from home... as an american express cardmember

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